ONE lucky Hampshire couple was treated to a snazzy new home in Winchester today.

Hampshire Ornithological Society (HOS) built a nest box for a pair of peregrine falcons on top of Hampshire police's headquarters in Romsey Road, Winchester.

Keith Betton, county bird recorder at the HOS, said: “In Winchester the birds have tried to nest in a gutter on top of the police building and they even managed to rear chicks one year. We thought it would be a better idea to give them a box to nest in.

“They like to nest on cliffs and I think they must think the HQ building looks like one so that's why they chose it.”

Peregrine falcons are the fastest creatures in the world and can reach speeds of more than 200mph when diving for prey.

The number of peregrine falcons in the South is increasing according to Mr Betton after a recent downturn.

He said: “Peregrines are very rare. Exposure to pesticides has resulted in their eggs becoming so thin that they cannot breed. But they have made a big comeback recently and they are very successful once they start breeding.

“It's nice to hear about birds going up in number rather than down for a change.”

There are currently 12 pairs of peregrines nesting in Hampshire.

But Mr Betton added another reason they are low in number is their refusal to share their homes.

He said: “They are so territorial if another pair turned up here they would get rid of them straight away.”

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